Life is not a camping trip - on the desirability of Cohenite socialism

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (2):171-185 (2012)

In Why Not Socialism?, GA Cohen defines socialism as the combined application of two moral principles: the egalitarian principle and the principle of community. The desirability of a social order organized around these two principles is illustrated by the ‘camping trip’ example. After describing the fundamental features of the camping trip scenario at reasonable length, Cohen argues that the desirability of such a social model is nearly self-explanatory, concluding therefore that the most significant challenges to socialism lie in its feasibility. This article argues that the desirability of the camping trip model as an appropriate ideal for society is less obvious than Cohen acknowledges. To argue my point, I shall compare the camping trip with another social practice that is equally small sized and characterized by strong emotional ties among its members, but in which the conditions of what I shall call ‘goal-monism’ and discontinuity in time do not hold, namely, the family
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/1470594X11417239
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,330
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality.R. M. Dworkin - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):377-389.
Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare.Richard J. Arneson - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 56 (1):77 - 93.
Justice and the Priority of Politics to Morality.Andrea Sangiovanni - 2008 - Journal of Political Philosophy 16 (2):137–164.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What Distinguishes the Practice-Dependent Approach to Justice?Eva Erman & Niklas Möller - 2016 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (1):3-23.
The Methodology of Political Theory.Christian List & Laura Valentini - 2016 - In Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.
Incentives, Offers, and Community.Harrison P. Frye - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (3):367-390.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is Market Society Intrinsically Repugnant?Jason Brennan - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 112 (2):271-281.
Feasibility and Socialism.Pablo Gilabert - 2011 - Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (1):52-63.
Exploring Social Desirability Bias.Janne Chung & Gary S. Monroe - 2003 - Journal of Business Ethics 44 (4):291 - 302.
Cohen on Socialism, Equality and Community.Pablo Gilabert - 2012 - Socialist Studies 8 (1):101-121.
Carry on Camping.Owen Hatherley - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 48 (48):110-111.
Jerry Cohen’s Why Not Socialism? Some Thoughts.John E. Roemer - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (3-4):255-262.
G. A. Cohen’s Vision of Socialism.Nicholas Vrousalis - 2010 - The Journal of Ethics 14 (3-4):185-216.
A Moral Case for Socialism.Kai Nielsen - 1989 - Critical Review 3 (3-4):542-553.


Added to PP index

Total views
96 ( #90,221 of 2,285,999 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #571,252 of 2,285,999 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature